Friday, 14 August 2009 00:00
I served as treasurer of the Village of Plandome Manor in the 1990s. When Bob Haggerty was mayor he asked me to analyze how much tax a family would save if the village ceased to exist and its services were provided by its neighboring jurisdictions. Amazingly, the difference was less than $100/year.
The major reason was that the village elected officials in this area all serve without salary or benefits. Their appointed staffs, me included, were usually paid on a part-time basis with no benefits except for Social Security and
Medicare. However there were a few other very small villages on Long Island where mayors were then receiving $50,000 annually or more. Many others paid their elected officials about $5,000 per year as mayor and $3,000 as trustee. There was a state requirement that everyone on the village payroll in any capacity receive the same benefits. Villages with their own full-time highway maintenance workers usually provided them with health and retirement benefits. These benefits were then extended to the salaried elected and appointed officials. As the cost of health care has skyrocketed, the value of these health benefits has made part-time local government employment very desirable for the self-employed or owners of small businesses.
Local villages in this area exist primarily to control zoning. So long as they keep their operating overhead reasonably low they will likely win a referendum to remain in existence.
Virginia W. DAntonio